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Zero Tolerance for Player Conduct??
#704676 04/25/18 10:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
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So we have leagues and tournaments that continually broadcast zero tolerance for ref abuse, which I support 100%. But I'm curious as to why referees tolerate so much crap from players on the field and why there is tremendous inconsistency in enforcing the laws of the game. Some refs are very good and many others are very laissez faire. This is a broad subject so I will offer up a couple of examples from recent BU14/2004 EDP D1 games:

1. In a recent and very physical game, a defensive player slide tackles the man with the ball from behind and hits the player with the ball in his knee with his studs up knocking the offensive player to the ground. The ref immediately whistles the foul and runs over pulling a yellow card out. When the player who committed the foul sees this he jumps up, kicks the ground and yells "I got the ball, this is fu--ing bulls--t. My question here is the foul was from behind and then the player had the nerve to curse in front of the ref. Why are referees so afraid to issue a red card for not only the foul but the players behavior and language? By the way in this game the offending team here had multiple yellow cards issued, all for fouls from behind.

2. In another recent game an attacking player loses the ball to a defender who made a clean slide tackle. No foul and no player knocked to the ground. After the ball is won by the defense the striker who lost the ball gives a two handed shove to the defender who won the ball from behind knocking him down. The ref witnessed this and immediately calls a foul and issue a yellow card. The coach of the fouled player asks out loud why this did not result in a red card for the violent conduct as did a parent from the sideline. The player committing the foul, in full view and earshot of all, cursed at both the parent and at the coach who questioned the ref. My question here is why was this player not issued a red card for his foul or for his language/conduct on the field?

The purpose of my questions is not to attack referees but I'm trying to understand the ridiculous level of tolerance I see at some games. At U14 these boys are getting more physical and some boys/teams are just downright dirty. Is there some unwritten rule that "they are just kids" so be lenient and tolerate fouls/dirty play and bad language? Not doing anything about such players is only tacit approval to do it again. You know as well as I do that certain coaches teach a rough style of play and to get away with what you can until the ref gets you. Are refs waiting for someone to get seriously injured before enforcing the laws of the game. Referees are not doing these kids any favors by not taking a hard line on dirty play and unsportsmanlike behavior. I'm all for good, hard, physical play but there is a big difference between physical play and dirty/unsportsmanlike play. And just so you are aware, both examples were fully witnessed by each referee so the "I didn't see it or hear it" does not apply. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. Please comment on this very important subject either to each item above or just in a general fashion as to what your opinion is. Thank you.

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Re: Zero Tolerance for Player Conduct??
Dean Moriarty #704802 04/26/18 09:06 PM
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My feeling is that if you want certain behaviors to continue and the level of disrespect to continue then by all means do not penalize a player.

In both situations, if they were exactly as you stated a red card was appropriate and would have been a wise move. Why? Once it starts if you do not set the tone and nip it in the bud then don’t be surprised when it continues and then the match can get totally out of control. Offensive language loud enough for spectators to hear should be dealt with immediately and is totally within the laws of the game regardless of whether a league has a tolerance policy or not. Period.

Re: Zero Tolerance for Player Conduct??
LIRef77 #704823 04/27/18 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by LIRef77
My feeling is that if you want certain behaviors to continue and the level of disrespect to continue then by all means do not penalize a player.

In both situations, if they were exactly as you stated a red card was appropriate and would have been a wise move. Why? Once it starts if you do not set the tone and nip it in the bud then don’t be surprised when it continues and then the match can get totally out of control. Offensive language loud enough for spectators to hear should be dealt with immediately and is totally within the laws of the game regardless of whether a league has a tolerance policy or not. Period.

Thanks for the reply. One of the things I find disturbing is that parents will tolerate actions on the field that they would not anywhere else, school for example, all in the name of winning. I've made this comment to many people and most agree. If Little Johnnie gets caught cheating on a test or speaks with foul language in the classroom, most parents would deal with it immediately and with serious consequences. But as long as you win your soccer game, tackling from behind, two handed shoves from behind, pulling shirts or arms to prevent a player from winning the ball is ok. Foul language is no problem, just don't get caught. As a coach and parent I have zero tolerance for such behaviors.

My expectations for referees is to enforce the laws of the game, period. If taking a hard line to deal with excessive fouls or violent play is needed to keep a game under control then so be it. You are not there to be the coaches, players or parents friend. The best referee I ever had told the coaches and players before a game, in a very professional and cordial manner, 'I will referee the game, the boys will play and the coaches will coach, parents will cheer. We won't do each others jobs and I will not tolerate any nonsense from anyone. Play clean and play hard within the laws of the game or you will deal with me, period'. Perhaps if more referees were like you and adopted this attitude and set the tone early before the match, especially with teams that have a bad track record, the situations described above would be less frequent? Thank you.

Re: Zero Tolerance for Player Conduct??
Dean Moriarty #704873 04/27/18 01:24 PM
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Well, every referee has developed certain techniques for their job so it can be touchy to start getting heavy handed before a game or start talking tough and then not walking the walk. Because you can say all you want but they are waiting for you to make a mistake or show an inconsistency so that they can POUNCE. And then you look silly because you are not doing what you said you would do. Say less, do more and call the game.

I try to be friendly, polite, businesslike and get the pregame stuff done quickly, get the game started and try and quickly gauge the two teams from the start. A lot can be learned during the pregame activities when you listen and watch, especially the non verbal communication going on that can be very easy to miss. Listening and watching, not talking. Calling the game, not explaining it. Then on with the game.

When you talk less during a pregame or during a match your words are more powerful. For example let’s say that there are a number of fouls by both teams in the first 10 minutes and you just blow the whistle and after each foul you give the player a certain look, he gets where he’s getting to a limit. When someone crosses that line from a careless foul to a reckless foul and a yellow card comes out and you have a few words with the player in a calm and serious manner it sets the tone and lets both sides know where the line is.
The first 10-15 minutes is a good barometer of things to come so what happens then can affect how the rest goes.

Re: Zero Tolerance for Player Conduct??
Dean Moriarty #704891 04/27/18 04:01 PM
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I'm in a few different Ref groups on social media.
Someone will post a clip and ask how we would call it, what we would do different, what cards and cautions we would give etc.

The group has about 10k referees in it worldwide.

Almost every clip leaves the group split in every direction.

Each Ref is going to see the game different. As long as they are consistent with themselves that is what is important. But overall yes, it would be good if we all were consistent together, the problem is that its our job to interpret. And so you get a lot of different results. I watched my sons game last week and it drove me crazy to see the ref making multiple calls against us, and when it should have been in our favor no whistle was blown. So I get it.

I also agree, we must stop the disgusting behavior out there. It tends to happen more on the boys side than the girls. The crying, diving, simulation on the boys side makes it very difficult to be consistent at least from my perspective, and sometimes we have to rely on our AR's who can be younger than the players on the field and not ready to call fouls in their quadrant. I also find that on the boys side, they protest every single call because their coaches protest every single call. Their parents make ignorant comments that aren't even part of the LOTG. We are urged to "let them play" but when we do its just becomes more reckless. I try to set the tone from the beginning, but in the end it never turns out well. It must start with the coaches/trainers creating a better atmosphere.

Just my two cents.


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